Frances Hollande to boost Total for UAE gas deal trumping UK

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ADCO, which has been in place since 1939, is up for renewal in 2014 and includes the Asab, Bab, Bu Hasa, Sahil and Shah fields. Abu Dhabi’s national oil company (ADNOC) has a 60 percent stake, Total, BP, Shell and ExxonMobil each have 9.5 percent.

ADNOC has launched a tender to award in 2014 a 30-year license to develop the multi-billion, ultra-sour Bab gas field, which is included in the 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) concession.

The Bab project’s ultra-sour gas contains around 30 percent deadly hydrogen sulphide, making it more dangerous and complex to operate than conventional gas reserves.

Being awarded the project, therefore, could help the winner remain in the larger oil concession when it is renewed.

“Winning the contract would allow Total to promote its expertise to Abu Dhabi and to position itself as a technological leader for the (Bab) field as part of the renewal of the ADCO concession in 2014,” another diplomatic source told Reuters.

This will also allow Total, which draws around 10 percent of its 2.4 million bpd of global production in the UAE, to promote its know-how globally.

To win the deal, Total will highlight the expertise it gained at the highly corrosive Lacq field in France and then applied around the globe including at its Elgin/Franklin gas platform in the North Sea, where the fields were shut after a leak in May.

Shell and Exxon also can offer technologies of their own to remove sulphur and carbon dioxide from gas.

“Total is wheeling out the big gun in the shape of President Hollande to support their bid, but Shell seems to be confident it can win," one industry source said without elaborating.

Hollande will also be accompanied by heads of other companies including Suez Environment, Areva, EDF and Veolia. More than 500 French companies operate in UAE, giving France a 2.5 billion euro trade surplus with the country, its fourth-biggest in the world.

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